How to Attend Latin Mass for the First Time

Be aware that you are going to assist and participate in the most sublime act of the adoration of God, the Most Holy Trinity. You should say: “I am going to Golgotha,” “I will join the heavenly assembly of the Saints and Angels with the Blessed Virgin Mary, who are now at the Mass praising and adoring the Most Holy Trinity with love, gratitude and awe.”  When you enter the church, recall to yourself the words of the patriarch Jacob: “How awesome is this place! How holy it is! It is truly the house of God and the gateway to heaven!” (Gen. 28:17).

Say to yourself: I will not seek at Holy Mass in the first place something for me, my personal advantage. I will go to Mass, enter the church in the first place in order to glorify God, to express to Him my love, my respect, my gratitude, my repentance, my trust in Him.

Say to yourself: I will not expect from the Mass primarily an intellectual instruction, a religious education lesson. Holy Mass is not a biblical academy. I will expect from Holy Mass in the first place an atmosphere of true prayer and adoration, which will lift up my heart to God, to the heavenly things, as St. Paul taught: “Seek the things that are above; where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God: Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth” (Col. 3:1-2).

When you go to Holy Mass remind yourself of the most important truth in our life: I am upon this earth in order that I may glorify God, and so win for myself eternal happiness. The glory of God is the end of all creation. God created me to know Him, to love Him, to worship Him in this world, to observe His Commandments, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven. “We have here not a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come” (Heb. 13:14).

Say to yourself: I go to Holy Mass to be united in my mind and my heart as close as possible with my Lord and Savior. The most powerful means of my union with God are the graces which I receive especially through the presence of the Sacrifice of Golgotha upon the altar and the sacramental reception of the Body of Christ in Holy Communion.

At Holy Mass you should desire to have a time of silence, since the Sacrifice of the altar is an immense ocean, from which you can draw abundant divine graces for so many intentions. 

Remember: With the traditional form of the Latin Mass you are spiritually united with the most widely-known saints of the Roman Church. The Traditional Latin Mass at which you assist, is indeed even to the details the same at which assisted St. Francis of Assisi, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Francis de Sales, St. John Mary Vianney, St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Saints Francisco and Jacinta of Fatima, and St. Maximilian Kolbe. The Traditional Latin Mass was the Mass of great martyrs, e.g. those of England and Ireland under the Penal Laws, those of the French Revolution, and of the Cristeros of Mexico. This form of Holy Mass is exactly the same as the first Mass that was celebrated on the soil of the Americas.

Remember what St. John Mary Vianney said: “If we really understood the Mass we would die, not of fear, but of love.”

Image: Rome – 7 September 2017 – celebration of the Holy Mass vetus ordo, Mass in Latin, in the days of the pilgrimage summorum pontificum decennial. Shutterstock/PIGAMA

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Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC is a Catholic prelate, serving as the Auxiliary Bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan. He is a member of the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross of Coimbra. He encourages the revival of public prayers, such as the Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharistic adoration. He explains how genuflecting, kneeling, and prostrating oneself are all outward signs of reverence that demonstrate this inward action. Our duty, he declares, is to render “perpetual thanksgiving” to God at Mass. Indeed, as he solemnly asserts, “The Mass is the greatest and most important work of the Church.”

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